Tuesday, December 27, 2016

1 week and 1 day to go...

So here we are! One week and a day to go! We depart Denver around 7am on Thursday January 5th. We are deep in the thick of packing and cleaning, and deciding what to take and what not to take. As well as trying to say goodbyes well, and continue to work on our partner development (support raising). We are excited, ready, scared, and a little anxious.

We are continuing to learn so much about this new life we are embarking on. Two of which I would love to share here.

The first one is the blessing of having a support team. Not only is it how we make our living as missionaries from financial support from those who believe in what we are doing, bringing Jesus in the way of design to Cambodia. I am also learning that it is so much more than that! It's having people who are willing to pray. People who are willing to encourage. People willing to meet a need when we have a need, and maybe most importantly it's people that are willing to remind us that they are thinking of us, and even more importantly praying for us. What a huge blessing!!

The second one came from scripture I was reading yesterday. Here's what stood out to me:

Psalms 1:1-3
"How happy is the man who does not follow the advice of the wicked or take the path of sinners, or join the group of mockers. Instead, his delight is in the LORD's instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. His like a tree planted besides streams of water that bears fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers."

- The last part of this verse we hear all the time as pastors pray it over their congregation, and we have had many people speak/pray it over us this last year. The thing that stood out to me was that the verse 3 that we hear all the time comes after the description of a man who sticks close to the Lord and finds his delight in Him, the fruit of that is being like the tree we hear about so often.

Psalms 2:11
"Serve the LORD in reverential awe and rejoice with trembling."

- I find it so easy to get comfortable with God, to get comfortable and forget how awesome He is, and how big He is. Great reminder for me!

Psalm 3: 3-5
"But you are a shield around me, my glory, and the One who lifts my head. I cry aloud to the LORD, and He answers me from His holy mountain. I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the LORD sustains me."

- Our God protects, hears and cares. He is sufficient and worth any sacrifice, because He give life.

Psalm 4: 7-8
"You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and new wine abound. I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, LORD, make me live in safety."

- He fills me with joy, and He gives us His safety wherever we go.

My prayer is that you are encouraged by this as much as I was last night. Be encouraged as we enter this new year, that God is for you. He is big, He is might, He hears you, and He cares. He fills you with joy and He is sufficient. So whatever you have ahead of you in 2017 remember these promises, remember He is worth it, and He is with you.

I know I will be clinging to these sweet verses as we prepare for and eventually step on to that air plane on January 5th.

Friday, December 2, 2016

December 2nd, 2016 34 days to go...

Well here we are! December second. We are all tired from traveling, and schedules being off, and some days are just off right now, and that is OK.

We are in the beginnings of organizing, and packing, and preparing for the final move on January 5th, and a little relieved we aren't going anywhere until then. We have been apartment hunting, and emailing. We have been researching more, and learning.

We are trying to feel all the feels of moving, and all the beauties of Christmas. We have our stockings hung, ornaments on the tree, our nativity out, I am addressing Christmas cards and have begun Christmas shopping, and soon cookie baking. We love this time of year, and don't want to miss it in our rush to get ready to move to the other side of the globe. We are also ready. Ready to move, ready to be done waiting and transitioning.

This time of year is wonderful end to this year of preparing, transitioning, learning, and dreaming. It is wonderful because of the reminder of Jesus. I love that we get to celebrate His birth, and His coming to rescue us, right before we leave. Jesus is why we are doing what we are doing. He is why we are going to Cambodia, to share Him with others who have never heard of Him.

The last few years around Christmas time God has been pointing out a different aspect of the coming of Jesus that I haven't thought too much about this year. The last several years it has had to do Mary, having a child and being a mom. The trust Mary and Joseph had to have to trust God to the point of having Jesus. The way they had to trust and love each other.

This year God has already began to highlight something different I have never had highlighted before the anticipation. The anticipation of Jesus. Our greatest gift of all. Between Amirah asking me everyday if tomorrow is Christmas, and our own anticipation of our big move, I find myself really relating to what the wise men must have felt. Knowing the king they had been waiting for was coming. The way Mary must have felt being at the end of her pregnancy knowing Jesus, God's son was coming. The way many scholars of the day must of felt knowing God had been silent for so long, and wondering if the Messiah would ever come.

This year I feel the anticipation. I feel the need to soak it in, to soak in the excitement of Jesus coming! I have been noticing how we prepare for Christmas, this whole advent season of preparing to celebrate Jesus is a lot of work, and a lot of planning. Much like the ones who knew the times when Jesus came may have felt waiting for their Messiah, their King of Kings. It has already added this whole new thing to Christmas for me. An anticipation that I haven't had in a long time. Anticipating celebrating Jesus' birth. My savior and my king. The greatest miracle of all time coming to pass.

Jesus is our all, He is our everything, He is worth laying it all down for. It is such a comfort to know that Jesus came for us, to rescue us, and restore our relationship with God. What a miracle that God would love us this much, and that He had two people, Mary and Joseph that trusted Him so well to allow Him to fulfill His plans through them.

I pray that you will feel the anticipation of celebrating Jesus' birth season.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

5,000 miles and still counting (From our visit to Durango a couple weeks of ago)...

Well we made it to November. We've made it to our home, Durango. This weekend we say goodbye again, and finally to this precious town, our precious sending church, and friends we have done life with for the last 10 years. I felt emotionally confused coming into town today. 61 days and we will be boarding our plane to Cambodia, and we will be not have the ability to drive 6 hours and be here...

I was driving up HWY 160 to our friends' house, which is right near our old house. I thought, this so natural, so comfortable, so... home. We haven't been home in 5 months. I came for a women's retreat and it was great, wonderful, but I didn't come all the way to Durango, and I didn't come up here to these sweet neighborhoods. This is home, we got to Pagosa, and Amirah got so excited because we were near our house. I had to reexplain that it isn't our house anymore, our new house is in Cambodia. Yes, I miss our house too. Then when I got up here, I quietly drove by our old house, just to see it. The girls were asleep, and Chris is at the church, so it was just me. I felt my heart swell, and break at the same time, and I thanked God for the sweet sweet memories there. I prayed for the family who bought it, and now occupies it, and I drove away again.

The odd thing is... we brought suitcases home, we are staying in someone else's house, and we our weekend is full of what will be heartwarming and joyful hellos, and heartbreaking, gut-wrenching goodbyes. Easier because we have done them once before, harder because this is it. We have a long time before we will hug these necks, talk with these people, and share life with these friends, and family choice, and when we return, it won't be the same for any of us. Just like it isn't quite the same now.

We just spent a week traveling to see family and family of choice, and training at MissionsPrep. It was exhausting, and wonderful all the same time. We now have a home in Illinois, who knew we would ever have a home there. (A piece of our family of choice moved there.) We wept as we said final goodbyes to the Beach Family, and drove home to Colorado. This weekend we say goodbye to Durango, The River Church, and family of choice still here. Then we head out for one last training at the end of next week, and then, more and more goodbyes. Until December is over, and we board that plane, with our 8 checked bags, 8 carry ons, hearts full of grief, and full of excitement, that the day is here...

**Update when published a few weeks later:
- We finished our final training last week and we enjoyed time together and learning how to be more safe. We often feel these same emotions, and it is a good look into how we feel off and on as we go about celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas and packing!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

This season...

We are in a season of fun, exhaustion and even grief, all rolled into one. We are beginning to say goodbyes, preparing for more goodbyes soon, and training. We are building our ministry team, packing, purging, sorting, traveling, planning, and doing normal life. We just returned from visiting my Grandma and had a wonderful time! Now we have 3 days to reset, repack and hit the road for a month! This more traveling busy life is different, it is hard, and it is so fun. I am learning how to enjoy the moments, and the moments in between. To pay attention to right now.

Then I have days like today, where we crash. Girls are still in pjs. Layla has been asleep for almost 1 1/2 hours and Amirah is eating a PB&J for lunch and then will be headed to bed for nap. We've watched kids shows and "The Incredibles" this morning, and I have wondered around on Facebook, done two loads of laundry, and began planning my packing list for the next month, and my todos before we leave this coming weekend. We all have colds, and needed a slow day. Life continues to move forward.

This is a fun/weird/sad season of life. I am loving joining the community we are joining within EMI, and within the missions/international community. It is so different, and it is so not what we are used to. In someways it feels like we belong, we are home, and in someways it feels so different from how we have lived, thought, worked, and done life up to now. I love it and at moments mourn the life we have left and are leaving.

Daily I am reminded that we are doing all of this because God has lead us to. We are moving forward because He is leading. And Jesus better be worth it, or we are screwed. One of our good friends, and mentors in college always said, put yourself in positions where God has to come through or you are screwed... Never have I ever lived this as truly as now. Daily I need Jesus to come through, to show me the moments I don't want to miss, to give me discipline to do what I need to do that day, to help me be the momma my girls need, and to be the wife my husband needs. Daily I need Him to come through to comfort my heart that aches for what we have already left behind, and that aches to be moved on to the next thing, avoiding this long season of travel and transition. Daily Jesus reminds me He is worth it. The God who saves, heals, rescues, redeems, and brings freedom and changes people from the inside out is worth it. The plans He has to use us to reach people who don't know or have never heard His name is worth it. The people He desperately loves are worth it, because we want to love what, and who Jesus loves.

I am excited for our next trip this weekend, to reconnect with our best family friends, family really, more family and to learn about culture in more preparation for Cambodia. But for today, I will enjoy the quiet, while we recover, and slowly begin on my next tasks, with my coffee in hand, and no rush to finish anything today. Today is a day of moments in between. A "normal" day. A day to rest.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Dreams Cost Something, and Even Hurt

Thank you for loving us so well... the blessing of the sending church

This last weekend I had the privilege of going to a women's retreat with our home church. It was amazing.

Since we left Durango 4 months ago, I have wrestled with what it means to call a church our home church or our sending church. This is really simply because I want wherever we are to find a local home church to be apart of, invest in and be in community with. So how can a place we have left be home too?? I also kind of thought that once we were gone we were gone, and even somewhat forgotten.

I was WRONG!!!

The River Church is our home church, our sending church... and though I didn't know what that meant or what that looked like I am so grateful that they know! They knew and they are so good at it! Even before we have headed overseas they are taking time to pray for us, they haven't forgotten us, and they love us! They love us... they love us enough that they are our biggest cheerleaders for what God is leading us to do. They are a safe place for us to land, I was so reminded of this this weekend. They are our church family.

My prayer is that in Cambodia we will find a church home, that can be another piece of our extended church family. To have community with and to love, and all those good things. We learned how be apart of community at The River Church. We learned how to do community and do it well at The River Church. Our home church/our sending church is and always will be this special family, piece to our story, and greatest encouragers because they love us so well.

The River Church has invested in our ministry, and will always be critical part of that ministry. I am so grateful for them, and for that special community. It was hard to leave you ladies yesterday. I was so overwhelmed by the way you loved me and my family this weekend. Thank you for being you.

Also, if you are reading this and are thinking that you wish you had a church family as amazing as we do, or that you wish you had a community of people looking out for you no matter where you are...you could. Here's how:

1. INVEST where you are. Invest your time, energy, money, love, sweat, and tears into a local church. You will get a return that will blow you away. It is worth it.

2. LOVE where you are. Love the people. Love them enough to walk through conflict with them, to speak truth in love, to learn with them. It is worth it.

3.  BE VULNERABLE with who you are with. Be open, be honest, let people love you. Let people help you. It is worth it.

I am so grateful for a weekend with women who I love, and who love me. Life long friends I know I can always come home to.

Thank you home church.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

He sees you...yes you...

Having followed Jesus for somewhere around 24 years, I have found that I grow through different season, different times, and all kinds of emotions. I have learned that God is good, sufficient, trustworthy, and unfailing.

However there have been many times when I question Him, I wander while I wonder about who He really is, and if He really cares. I wonder if He could forgive me, if Jesus could/would truly wipe away my guilt, my tears, and make me whole. I feel closed out by "His people" or I am on the ill-guided receiving end from "His people", and I wonder if He cares, if He is real. Or maybe I have burned others by my ill-guided ideas and thoughts, and later realize how wrong I was, maybe I even spoke truth, but missed the love part.

I have many friends I have watched wander also, while they wonder about their relationship with Jesus, their past passions for Him, and their current frustration, uncertainty, and passiveness about Him. I have been there.

 I am always drawn back to Him though. To His word, His people, His love and His patience. I am drawn back to His heart, and His understanding. He woos me towards Him, to deeper levels. I have been contemplating this a lot lately. How on the other side of every wall of disbelief, questioning, and sorrow He is still there, He is waiting, He is seeking me out. I see the foundation He build deep within me before I ever hit my first wall in my faith, the way He know I could draw and dwell on that when everything in me wanted to run, hide, and never speak to Him again.

He is so faithful.

He sees you.

He is good, and He loves you.

Often we are pushed away from our Savior because of His people. His imperfect people doing their best to love, show Jesus and serve Him. Sometimes it is because they are loving us well and we don't feel that lovable, so we feel guilty and we run. We run from that which makes us feel good, because we "deserve to feel awful, to feel miserable."

BUT... Here is the truth. It isn't about the people who have messed up, it isn't about you feeling awful or miserable. It IS about you. It IS about Jesus. It is about Him seeing, loving and chasing you, simply because He loves you. It isn't a numbers game to Him, it's a love affair with you. I wanted to share this, because the more friends I meet who are wandering around, wander away, searching for a renewed sense of the truth to fit them, to fit their lives, and feelings the more my heart breaks as they look. I want them to see, to feel Jesus wooing them, calling them back to His truth, showing them who they were created to be, and the abundance He has for them right where they are at. Not in a year when their life is more in order... not in a week when they are done with that struggle, but right now, right here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Have you ever been homesick but you didn't even fully know for where? That's how I have felt today. I have felt homesick. We are in our nomadic state, and have been for awhile now, and when we got back from the East Coast I was eager to be home, and to go to church. Then I realized I this doesn't feel like home. In some weird way I don't feel like I have a home, one that is ours. My heart was longing for my friends, my home, and my church. We are apart of a great church here, but my church for 10 years has been in Durango, and I miss my people. My family of choice, and the stability of that family, and home. Realizing our time is coming to an end here in the US is both exciting and exhausting. I am excited to go, to have a new home, to connect into a new church where we will be. I am excited to plant myself again. Feeling homeless is hard. Especially when you are homesick and you aren't quite sure where you are homesick for. What if you are homesick and without a home?...then what do you do?

While we were at CIT there was a feeling of home. A space that was ours, and people who understood our hearts, circumstances, and feelings. They were there too. Now we are back. Fighting through, feeling like we are home and yet still a little homesick...Is it possible to be homesick for a place that hasn't been our home yet? I think it might be. I feel a little homesick for Cambodia, to get there to have a home, and to start building community.

This is short. However I wanted to share this weird feeling... have you ever felt this way? There is so so much joy and anticipation in our hearts right now, but also a lot of sorrow and grief. It is sad to leave behind people and places we love. It is hard being in the in-between. It is exciting and a little bit scary to be moving forward.

God is good, He is trustworthy, He is faithful. He hasn't failed, and He won't start now. I am so grateful to serve such an awesome God.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Ummm... Where do I start???

So we have been on the move most of August. Even now we are in the middle of being away. I am sitting here in North Carolina at the Center for Intercultural Training, with two more days of classes left. We left Colorado Springs July 30th (for World Staff Conference with EMI), and still have a week more or traveling. God has been doing so much inside our family and me. I have so many things I could share! I will probably post many things about these last 3 weeks in the coming weeks as I have some down time to process them more clearly, and really pray about what God has done and is doing in me. So you can be ready for that! For now here are some highlights so far in our August adventures!

World Staff Conference in Granby, CO (Snow Mountain Ranch) 

Most fun thing: Summer tubing! It was a blast! Oh, and we got to finally meet all the people we are moving to Cambodia with in person!! :)

Hardest thing: Everything was so spread out, and Layla had a hard time with class, but she was so well loved by the childcare people, it was sad to say goodbye to them!

Biggest take away for me: EMI is a great ministry to be a part of. I am so grateful for EMI, the people within EMI, and the heart of EMI. I was continually blown away by how families interacted when they didn't think or know anyone was watching. As well as how families interacted with other families, and the belonging we felt within the EMI family. Just awesome.

(There were also amazing break out sessions, and great worship and main sessions)
Playing mini-golf at the camp!

North Carolina and CIT Second Language Acquisition Training

Most Fun thing: Spending time with Jamie last weekend! Also we have gotten to swim most days after class which has been great family time, and time with other CIT families.
Weekend with Aunt Jamie was so much fun!!
Hardest thing: Wrapping my mind around learning a new language and culture, sitting in class 8:30-3:30 everyday.

Biggest take away for me: (Now we still have two days left so there might be something else later.) I can learn Khmer! God can help me learn Khmer! Learning Khmer will expand part of who I am and expand my perspective of how I see God. The second thing is being in community with people (like at the staff conference) who have laid it all out there for God to show or we are out of luck is amazing.

OK now a story just to brag on God... Our last flight from Denver to here I left my phone on the plane, and didn't realize it until we were at our hotel for the night. I knew exactly where I had left it, in the the seat back pocket in front of my seat! Now my first thought was They never look in there it's gone forever. This sucks! We tried calling the airline to see if someone had seen it or could check on the plane we had just got off of, and the recording said they were closed, which was weird because it was only 4:30 east-coast time. So I decided to see if I could get the free airport shuttle back to the airport, they were happy to take me back, but continually informed me how they couldn't wait for me because who knew how long it might take to get my phone back. I totally understood that I maybe at the airport for hours, what a great way to start our time here. We got to the airport and I ran into the counter for our airline, where you check you bags in. Two guys were there chatting, I explained I had just come in from Atlanta and I had left my phone on the plane, one of the guys jumps up and says, "I have it! It's in the back. I'll go get it!" I was almost in tears! I couldn't believe that anyone even saw it, and then that the guy I walked up to was the person who knew right where it was. So I thanked them for my phone and ran back out to try to catch the shuttle before it left to go back to the airport, and the shuttle driver had decided to stop for a smoke before heading back to the hotel, so she was still there! So cool! I was so grateful, and knew right away that not only was finding my phone all God, but having it only take a 10-15 min trip to the airport to get it back! When does that ever happen with something like that with an airline?? Praise God! I love how he cares about us and the little things in our lives.
Leaving from DIA to North Carolina!

God has blessed us so much during the last three weeks, we have loved watching Him take care of us, and the people around us, we love getting to see all He is doing around the world. We are a little bewildered and in awe that He would chose to use us to further that. What a gracious and mighty God we serve.

Reading in one of the many playrooms here at CIT!
Is there anything cuter than sisters walking hand in hand?

Friday, July 29, 2016

Chlorine, Sunshine, Water, Sunscreen and Picnic Lunches (cute pictures of the girls)

This summer has been a summer of fun! I giggled to myself the other day when I was going to the bathroom and looked in the bath tub and realized there was a dark circle around the tub from the girls' baths. They have been spending so much time outside our tub was dirty. I thought to myself, that is the sign a wonderful summer. Then I was pulling Layla out of bed one morning this last week and she smelled like swimming pool (chlorine) and sunscreen, and I though that's a sign of a wonderful summer. We have been having a wonderful summer! The girls and I have played and played.

For the first time in my life I don't want summer to end! We are loving the warm weather, and I suppose that's a good thing with our next transition. We have been frequenting parks, fountains, swimming lessons, and just simply enjoying the backyard. God has been doing so much in us as a family as we are learning and growing in preparation for Cambodia.
                               Amirah at Prospect Lake! She is so fun, and becoming so brave! 
               Layla Lou! She is one of the silliest kids I have ever met, and such a fun little water baby!
          Backyard fun! Grandma's planter has become their outdoor play house and watering the plants                                                                is a favorite pass time!                                                          
                                     Amirah finally got her glide down on her balance bike!
                                     Layla is figuring out this walking thing, she is loving her walker!

I have been learning and thinking a lot about who I am, who God made me to be. I have been thinking about the importance of our identity, and understanding how we uniquely reflect our Heavenly Father. Often when we are playing I think about this stage of life, how confident the girls are in who they are, and what they want to do. I've been thinking about when we lose that, what happens? How come we let others steal pieces of that? I don't ever want anyone to take that from my girls. I pray that they will grow in confidence of who they are, and with confidence that Jesus loves them so much, exactly how they are. That way they can always reflect the exact aspects of God that they were created to reflect, and change the world with who God made them to be.

As I am relearning at age 28 who God created me to be, and changing things about who I had molded myself into, I am finding freedom. Freedom to be me, freedom to play in the fountain with my girls, freedom to just watch, freedom to play and to be me, freedom to talk to and enjoy others around me, and freedom to see the joy in the way that God created me to be.

Summer is wonderful. Being, and becoming more of who God created you to be is wonderful. Enjoying the girls is wonderful. Soaking up the sun is wonderful. Learning and preparing for Cambodia is wonderful, and hard. God is doing and teaching us so much, and I am confident that when January comes we will be boarding that plane as confidently as we can, as prepared as we could be, and with hearts ready for the next season. God is so good, so faithful and so trustworthy!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Share your life.

My hope as you read about our wanderings, about our planning, our adventures, our hearts, is that you hear and are encouraged to take those next steps of faith in your walk with God. That it invigorates you to do something to move, to trust, to actively pursue the Living God. My heart for discipleship always sees the value and the impact each thing I post could/can have on someone. Whether it is here on our blog or if it is on my Facebook page. I want to encourage, build up, and spur others on towards what God has for them in their lives. I want to share our hearts to do that. I have never been a very private person, and secrets have always been hard for me, especially with the people closest to me. I want to share my heart and my heartache with others. My joy and my sorrow, and I want to share in theirs! My hope is always as I pour out my heart, volunteer information about my life, and what God is teaching me, others will feel free to do the same. I love connecting with people, sharing things that matter, and sitting in each others' messes and joys, simply being there for each other. I am convinced that this is the best part of discipleship, the best part about loving people and walking through the day to day with others.

I have searched out people here in Colorado Springs to connect with. People to enjoy and to learn from. Moms to mom with, family to love, and new friends to be made. I am really enjoying connecting with new people here, and getting so much time with our extended family. It is hard though! I find myself missing the deeper relationships I had in Durango. The depth from being friends for 10 years, seeing each other in the hospital after having babies, or spending every Sunday together worshiping. The depth from serving together and watching softball together. It is hard to get people to come out of their shells, to let you in, and show them that they are safe connecting with you, and being in a bigger city maybe makes it harder! Many are so guarded, and worried about offending. I don't get offended easily, and often don't worry as much as I maybe should about offending others because I am not offended easily. Which can be so good and so bad, because I can offend and never realize it, and good because I would like to think it makes my self-protection easier to break through. I don't need to guard as hard because offense isn't part of my normal personality.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Goodbye Durango

Below is from the day we closed on our house on May 31st. Now almost a week and a half into being here in the Springs, we are enjoying our time here, but both of these last Tuesdays my heart has ached for these sweet friends. I am excited for lunch tomorrow at a park with new friends! :) Enjoy a glimpse into the day we closed on our house:

Goodbyes are hard.

We are about to leave the place we have called home for over 10 years. This is the longest I have ever lived anywhere, the longest I have been a part of a church, and the most stable my life has been. We have gotten engaged here, our first home as a married couple was here, we graduated college here, we have lived almost 8 1/2 years of marriage here, we have bought and now sold our first house here, we have had two children here, and probably the most valuable of all we have learned how to build, enjoy, and participate in community here. The hardest part about that was transitioning from college community to real life adult community. My hope is that now that we have improved in this area, learned the value of it, and cherished this we will be able to do this a little more quickly in other places.

Today is our last Tuesday lunch, a staple in our lives since having my girls, especially after having Layla. I have learned soo much from these mommas that I will take with me. I have learned about caring for my family, loving other mommas, and encouraging other mommas no matter what. The important part about that is moms always do things differently, and being able to love and encourage them in the way God is leading them to raise their kids so so wonderful! What a great example these ladies have been to me as I have entered motherhood, offering advice without judgement or condemnation, and loving me where I am at as a mom. I am confident I will later find another group of mommas, but these will always be special to me. They are just wonderful!

Today we closed on our house, so final. Tears lots of tears here, the last few days every time we left the house. I pray the new family will enjoy it as much as we did! I prayed for that family so much as I packed and cleaned.

This has been home, and now we are homeless...(not really my parents have graciously taken us in for the next 6-7months), but it feels like it. For the first time since I was 18, I do not have a home that is mine. God is on the move, hallelujah! He is doing mighty things! (Have you heard that song by 7eventh time down? It's kind of been our theme song lately, thanks KLove) It's true He is, and it is good. He is so good.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Selling everything you have...Come follow me. Is it worth it?

As we are facing our final days in Durango, my heart is sad. I am so sad to leave our community, our family of choice. I find myself weepy over silly things, and I find myself trying to pretend that the end is not as near as it is. I also find myself ready. Ready to move forward, ready to see more of what God has for us, ready to spend time with our families, and ready to reconnect with old friends.
Knowing we will "rebuild" when we get to Cambodia. It is great and wonderful, and sad, and hard.

I have meditated a lot lately on the story of the rich young ruler in the gospels. Jesus tells him to sell everything he has and give to the poor, then come follow me. I shared in a previous post how I have never understood why the rich young ruler went away sad, it's just stuff. However, I get it more now. We love our stuff. I think even beyond loving our stuff, we are secure with our things. Lately I have been contemplating one more aspect I had never thought of before. The rich young ruler didn't know the future, he didn't know where Jesus would lead him, or how his needs would be met. He didn't know IF IT WOULD BE WORTH IT. Would it be worth it? He probably had worked hard to accumulate his wealth and possessions, to sell it all, or give it all away almost seems foolish. What if he would eventually have to start over? What if he really regretted getting rid of that one item? What if Jesus abandoned him shortly after he gave up everything? What if....?This has been my contemplation, "Is this really worth it? God are you really worth it? What if you aren't even really real? What if you abandon us? What if you don't take care of us? What if we end up without a home? What if we take this leap of faith and land flat on our faces, regretting it all?"

Every single time I come back to these truths, "You are worth it. The people you have called us to serve and share Jesus with are worth it. Eternity with you for these people is worth it. You have never failed us, you won't start now. How could I deny how really real you are, you saved me! You rescued and changed me, you set me free! You are good and you are trustworthy. You have always taken care of us beyond our greatest desires. A home is where our family is, not an accumulation of stuff. We won't regret anything because You have taught us so much through this process. GOD YOU ARE WORTH IT!"

He is worth it. He is worth leaving behind our belongings (minus what we can fly with, and few treasures in my parents' basement). He is worth selling our table that had so many fun, and wonderful memories around. Our couch that we literally moved so it would fit in our house. (Kind of silly right?)  He is worth it all, because He is good, and trustworthy and He has saved my soul. I want to love what God loves, the way He loves them, that's people not stuff.

This is a glimpse into my heart. My internal dialogue I have with myself as we are facing our last days of small town, mountain living. Of being surrounded by beautiful ponderosas, the Animas River, and most importantly so many sweet, loving amazing friends. Though I am teary at the drop of the hat right now, I think I am ready. I moved to Durango at 17 for college, and minus one summer I have been here since. It has been a wonderful home. Good-byes are hard, my heart is sad, but my soul is excited for the future.


Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Wife's Role

As we have been preparing to move, moving and whatever else we have going on I have thought a lot lately about a wife's role in a marriage. I think often as wives we given In to our husbands and hide behind the idea that we have to be quiet or given even if it means letting our husbands fail in the name of being submissive...It is so easy to let our husbands fail, and then say... "I told you so" or "I knew you shouldn't have done that."  But, we were created to help and complete our husbands and lead our families with our husbands... God has gifted us to see and even feel things they don't. To have a different perspective than they do. This helps us to know how to help them as they lead our families, this helps us to know when to respectfully stop and disagree. This is a gift God has given us! Weilded correctly and with Christ on the Throne of our hearts we can be a huge asset to our husbands. 

Most of the time if we see that they will fail we are not doing what God has called us to by staying quiet, and letting it happen. Often we do that so we can say later I told you so, or I knew we/you shouldn't do that... And that does nothing but hurt them. It's not love. Not to say sometimes they don't listen but at least we offered what we see and know. This can create bitterness in our hearts, and towards our husbands, as we allow a laundry list to grow of the things we have watched them fail at. How is this being a the spouse God created us to be? How is this lovingly submitting and respecting our husbands? It isn't. 

Sometimes we have to stand our ground, we have to speak up because we love them, because we are here to help and complete, to assist and add value. Our perception, or intuition, even discernment is so valuable! Sometimes these manifest themselves as feelings, but there is value! 

“Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:11-12‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭31:16, 25-27‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The wisdom I think is when and how to speak up and how to take a stand if needed to be respectful and articulate. To communicate well.

This is why marriage is hard. It goes against our flesh that wants to trample and have our way, or submit and get bitter. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

It's All About Community


We always hear you need community. You need people.

Followed by an opposing view of, you can do it, you don't need anyone else. Pull yourself up and do this yourself.

Or as Amirah always says, "I can do it my own-self."

The truth... you need people. You need family. You need your God-given blood family, and you need your God-given family of choice. The people who get you, who love you, and you will be there for you. These are the people who will do life with you.

Every time we have needed it our family of choice has been there. It has grown, and it has been so special to us! We love having people who love us and our girls. We love having people who we can lean on and into when we need it. Whenever we have friends that become new parents our number one piece of advice is find community. We even joke that they should join a church even if it is only for community. People to love them and love their kids. It is so valuable!

However it is this community that is breaking my heart right now. We have 3 Sundays left of attending church with Mimi and Papa. We have 4 Sundays left with our wonderful church family that we have poured our hearts into, and have walked through the last 10 years with us.
4 more Sundays with the people that loved us in college.
4 more Sundays with the people that waited for us as we figured "adult life" out.
4 more Sundays with the people who sobbed with us when we had our miscarriage.
4 more Sundays with the people who brought movies, hugs, texts, and love when I was on bed rest for 9 weeks.
4 more Sundays with the people who rejoiced with us when we had Amirah.
4 more Sundays with the people who feed us after Amirah was born.
4 more Sundays with the people who treat Amirah like she is one of their own.
4 more Sundays with the people who rejoiced with us when we had Layla.
4 more Sundays with the people who feed us after Layla was born.
4 more Sundays with the people who Amirah is ecstatic to see every week.
4 more Sundays with the people who have put up with, and loved Layla in the nursery.
4 more Sundays with the people I have had the privilege of loving and teaching their children.
4 more Sundays with the people Chris has had the privilege of leading worship with.
4 more Sundays with the people eager offer parenting advice when I have needed it, but never quick to judge what I ultimately decide to do.
4 more Sundays with the people who are sending us off well, with love, with prayers, with joy and sadness.
4 more Sundays....with our community of people...

No softball this summer, no life groups at the park...

I know God will provide new community and we are excited to spend time with our blood family, and our new eMi family.

We are excited to return to the church we grew up in for a season. We are excited to find family in Cambodia... but HATE saying goodbye to this community.

If you don't have a commuity, find it. Get involved... tell your story. :) (sorry Jill had to steal it....)

Friday, April 29, 2016


Oh obedience...the thing we all want others to do, but often struggle to do ourselves. Even obeying ourselves and having self-control can be so hard! We struggle to teach our children to obey. It is something that is so crucial to a good life, and specifically so crucial to following Christ. We cannot follow Christ without obedience. It has always been funny to me how God changes us, and challenges us with steps of faith that are also steps of obedience to Him. Today as I was running around our little town I kept thinking about all the steps of obedience I have taken or not taken, and the good or bad consequences that followed. I am not here to say that if you always obey, your life will be absolutely peachy, however that maybe the case for some, but I am here to say that as you obey your Heavenly Father you will be blessed, you will be blessed beyond measure, in so many ways.

Here are some of my testimonies from being obedient to what God has asked me to do. Some of these things seemed so small yet yielded huge blessings for not only myself, but for many others. These are specifically from these last 10 years... (I will have officially been an adult for 10 years this week, good time to reflect on God's faithfulness in adulthood :))

1. Attending college at Fort Lewis College, and being an active member of a campus ministry.
     => Great life-long friends, as well as a network of people who love, and pray for me. Growing to trust God in even greater ways that I would have otherwise, and heart for discipleship and evangelism. As well as huge lessons and growth in learning healthy balance and boundaries.

2. Choosing to live with a family I wasn't sure I had ever met before. Beach Family here's looking at you!
    =>Free rent for last few months before I married my husband. A family to love, and be loved by while our blood family was 6 hours away. A Mimi, Papa, Tia and Bug to love my girls, a family to call family when our family is far away. A family of choice to do life with. A family to share with my friends (yes those life long friends I gained from campus ministry in college) A family that prays for us, that helps with the girls, that speak life into our lives and the lives of our girls. A blessing that keeps on giving. I think everyone involved in  the simple decision to obey, on both sides got WAY more than they bargained for out of that choice to obey!

3. Marrying Chris even at the young age of 19.
    => Growing up with my best friend, life partner, and soul mate. Getting to watch and enjoy the changes God did and is doing in each of us as we have grown into adulthood, finished school, and started our family. 2 beautiful girls, and lots and lots and lots of laughter. We are both so much better because of each other, and together than we are separately because of the amazing work God has done in each of us the last 8 and half years.

4. Giving money when we felt like we had none.
   => God turned around and multiplied our income, and blessed us beyond what we needed.

5. Buying a house when we weren't sure it made sense to buy a house.
   => We bought at the bottom of the market, and it has been a great investment for us as we move out of this amazing blessing to head overseas. We had no idea what God was up to when He told us to look for and buy a house. This home has been an amazing blessing to us, and many others we have opened it up to and shared it with. Many people are sad that we are selling it and moving on. God has used this home to build strong relationships, to be a sanctuary and a refuge, and to teach me about my gifts, talents, and true calling as I am following Him.

6. Having babies.
   => We started having babies when we suddenly felt in our hearts that it was time. We started with a pregnancy that ended in a miscarriage at 13 weeks, and it was devastating, but God used to teach us so much about Him, His bigness and greatness. Then we got pregnant with Amirah shortly after we bought our house. She is such a joy! She loves people deeply, she loves friends, she loves to love. She is so empathetic and loves her Jesus. Next we had Layla, who we affectionately call Layla Lou. She is so happy and giggly, until she isn't. Layla is rarely just simply OK, or content, she is usually exuberant or upset. She feels with all of herself, and loves her mommy, daddy and sissy. She is opinionated and pretty strong willed with that wonderful opinion. All three kids have taught us so much about the Father heart of God, about how He parents us, loves us, and teaches us to obey. How he desires for us to obey and see the benefits that we will reap from that obedience. Just like we desire for our girls.

7. Raising Support and Moving to Cambodia
   => We aren't very far into this journey, yet God is already letting us see some of the blessing as we meet with people and are encouraged by them in our vision and ministry. The freedom from purging, getting rid of all that doesn't really matter. The heart changes that come from deeply examining your belongings, values, and heart. Digging into the whys, and we move through this transition. These are just the beginning of what we are seeing from this step of obedience.

How has God blessed your obedience? What He is asking of you wanting you to obey and you just aren't sure it is worth it? Be encouraged, not only is it worth it, but I am confident He will blow your expectations out of the water, with his blessing that come from your simple act of obedience! Be encouraged! Our God is great, He is big, He is good, and He is trustworthy. We serve an awesome God!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

"Jesus, loves you, me."

This amazing quote comes from Amirah... She says it all the time.. She tell Layla all the time that "Jesus loves you, Layla." She gets it. At least to the extent a 3 year old can get it. She will sit down and "read" her bible, and it goes like this:

"God made me."
"God love me."
"Jesus love you, me."
"Jesus die."
"Jesus alive! Yay!"

She gets it. This is truly what it is about. God loves us, so He gave us Jesus. Who loves us, so he died for us so we can be with Him. How adorable and awesome is that? This is what our lives are about. This is what our daily mission is about. This is what we are living for. To tell others about Jesus. To tell others the Jesus loves them and wants to be with them.

This is why we are selling and/or packing everything we own and moving around the globe. This is why my kids and I spend so much time talking about and enjoying bible stories, memory verses, and conversations about Jesus and God's word.

As we have been packing and going through our things, I keep thinking about the story in Matthew 19, when Jesus is talking to the rich young ruler. The rich young ruler comes to Jesus and asks what good thing he must do to have eternal life. Jesus tells him to keep the commandments. He replies that he has since he was a child. Jesus then tells him to sell all of his possessions and give to the poor then come follow him. The young ruler walks away sad because has many things. (paraphrased from Matthew 19:16-22) I think the reason this story has by on repeat in my mind and in my heart is because I've never really understood this story, I have always thought, it's just stuff why can't he give it up?

As we are preparing for Cambodia it has amazed me the connection we have with our "stuff", and how many things it takes me several days or more to decide the of fate because of my feelings and connection to that thing. Even things in our house that aren't mine, that belong to Chris or the girls. I want to be sentimental for them, and drag it along with us, even though they don't care. We are living to a small extent this passage of selling/giving away all that we have to go serve ministries who serve the poorest of the poor and bring hope to the hopeless. It is hard, as people we seem to like our stuff. It is also freeing, cleaning is easier the more our house empties out, and the girls are playing with their toys that aren't packed up more than before, and there is an end in sight. He is also moving my security, and comfort from my belongings and my home into a deeper place in Him. A place where I sinking my roots deeper into His word, and into His character. Trusting and relying on God more and more and preparing my heart for His great adventure.

I believe that as we grow in our walks with Christ, and as we draw closer and closer to him the story is replayed over and over in our lives in different ways. Leaving behind that which we value most to follow Him where He is leading. It can be hard, it can hurt, but it is also freeing, refreshing, and can bring such joy.

My prayer for each of you, is that through the hard of whatever you are letting go of to chase after Jesus, you will persevere. You will seek our good Father in heaven to see what He is doing in you, to change you, and make you more like Him.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Wonder of Parenting


Do any of us truly know what we are doing?

We might not but at least our kids seem to have life figured out... in their opinion.

Our kids are only 3 and almost 1, and they are adorable. I love being their mommy, even on days like today when I just feel a little not here. My mind is on other things, and I suddenly realize it and I feel guilty. I don't want to miss it! To miss this! To miss little Layla at 11 months old, trying desperately to figure out how to move more efficiently, because maybe using everyone else isn't the most efficient way to get around. To miss little Amirah now at 3, and pretty sure she is the boss, or at least should be an active voice in most things... saying things like, "Careful Mommy, careful with Daddy's car..." Haha! But even more so I don't want to miss things like the way Amirah looks at the little flowers popping up for spring, or the snow falling even though it is sunny out. How Layla loves and is fascinated by the wind in her face, and turns a rock or a pine cone over and over in her hands. The joy that lunch outside brings to both of them!

I don't want to miss it because as so many mommies and daddies say, "the days are long but the years are short." I have realized in the last year that I don't want to miss it also because there is so much to be seen and learned about our Creator looking through the eyes of my little children. My girls point me towards my creator all the time. Especially Amirah! Every time she says, "Jesus, loves you, me." Or today when she picked up her bible to read it, and "read", "Jesus loves me, God loves me. God made me. Jesus loves you, me." My heart melts because she gets it. Jesus loves her, He loves me, and He loves everyone. The way they wonder at the littlest thing outside, reminds me of how big the world felt as a kid, and just simply how big our God is. He does love us, he does take care of us, and He is able to do so much more than we can imagine.

Then finally, when I am tucking my girls in at nap or at bedtime... "I need a hug, Momma." Or Layla's sweet baby gut giggles... My heart burst with love for them. (until the 5th hug is asked for... then there is more frustration...but then God gently reminds me of the times I just needed one more hug from Him, and He freely gives it)

I am always reminded by God of the way He parents us His children. Always out of love, not fear, always working to change and mold our hearts, our attitudes, and always patient and kind.

I never knew that parenting would teach me, show me, and encourage me so much with how we are loved and parented by our Heavenly Father.

What a good, good Father we serve. :) As you parent, or even just enjoy other people's kiddos, or serve children. Be reminded, be encouraged of your good Father in heaven, and let Him show you the joy, and the immense love He has for you. Allow your kids to slow you down to see what they see, and allow God to speak to you through it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The beauty in the normal

Here I am. The girls are napping, the house is a mess (we just got home yesterday from Phoenix...so I'll let your imagination run with that) . I have laundry going, dishes that need unloaded, dishes in the sink, sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming that needs done, as well as bathrooms that need cleaned. Curriculum at church that needs prepped, meal planning that needs done, and grocery shopping, and trying to settle back into our normal and plan out how I will get done what I need to get done.

This is pretty much my day to day list or at least my weekly list of things I have to do. Then there are the secondary want to/have to dos. Like blogging, journaling, and reading, as well as support raising (ministry team development). These things are just as important but tend to take a backseat to the former as well as keeping the girls alive, happy, feeling well loved, and spending quality time with them.( I always try to make this a primary goal, really above almost all else. )

I am here, I am in our normal, day to day, the somewhat mundane. I am here carrying on with house showings, church responsibilities, caring for the girls, the house, doing the chores, the shopping, the normal. Chris is currently in Cambodia on a project trip, making a difference and connecting with contacts for our move there. It feels weird being disconnected from a lot of this process, even a lot of the support raising and meeting with people. Mostly because we have the two adorable little girlies. I often find myself saying I am doing this, so he can do that... that is just my role right now. It won't always be, but for this season that is my role, and that is ok. In fact I am enjoying it. Maintaining the day to day. The daily functioning of our family. I will tell you what it is easier when Chris is here. It is easier when he can love on the girls and help with bed time and bath. We miss him.

The comfort is it's all for Jesus, my to do list, Chris's to do list, our being together, our being apart, raising our girls, and being connected to others. It is all for Jesus. It is a legacy of serving and loving Jesus that we are working to leave. For Chris it is our ministry within eMi, and for me it is even simpler, raising our girls, caring for our family, and being faithful in our day to day. I do laundry to honor Jesus, I clean my home to serve Him, I do my best to love our girls the way God does to bring glory to Him, and so they can see how much they are loved and valued.

Serve, honor, and glorify Jesus right now in your day to day. Whatever that might be. :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

When a Household Comes Apart

When a household comes apart it is usually because of a sad tragedy in a family. A divorce, a death, or some other major trauma, but sometimes it is because of a dream, and it can be oh so good.

As a preteen I experienced a household coming apart and then two new ones being rebuilt. My parents divorced, and then suddenly there wasn't a home, not a permanent one anyway. Somethings at one house made it feel like home and some things at the other made that one feel like home. After almost 13 years of one household, one home, one bedroom and one family we had two. It was sad, it was tragic, any family coming apart is. God did so many good things through it though. He changed so many dynamics in our lives, and used what was meant to be only evil, for good. I learned how to trust Him more, how to chase Him more, to trust and rely on Him, and that my security did not just come from my family, but from my Creator.

Now as an adult, Chris and I have spent the last 8 years building a household and a family. We have worked to have the things that we needed to create a warm inviting household full of love, to share with others and to embrace others in. We have added to our family pets, and eventually our girls. We have created a place for people to land when they needed a place to land, and a place for others to come together and discuss the great love of our heavenly Father. Now, our household is coming a part. Our family is intact and stronger than ever, but our home, our house, our stuff, and our connection to these things is going through refining. A daily conversation in our home goes something like this:

"Do we need to keep this?"
"Is it coming to Cambodia?"
"Do we need it there?"
"I don't know."

Then followed by a whole conversation about that item, if it will be kept and taken to Cambodia, stored in my dad and stepmom's basement, or sold when we leave Durango. Imagine everything you have worked to build your home, going under such scrutiny. Then it hits you how all these things are just things. They don't count for eternity, they shouldn't carry so much weight, but for some reason they do. It is a deep soul cleansing type process to weed through the treasures you have acquired, and determining their value. Are they valuable enough to store? Are they valuable enough to take up precious suitcase space when we finally make that big move in a year? It's freeing but it can be sobering, and sad. You begin to see what you have established and created, where you feel most secure slowly diminishing.

Then all that is left, all that will be left when we are through with this process is what matters most, our trust in Jesus, our family, and chasing a dream God planted in our hearts long ago. How beautiful is that?

21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Matt 19: 21

39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:39

When your household comes apart to follow a dream God has planted in your heart, at times you feel like you are losing your life. Losing your security, your home, your peace, and all that God has even given you. To take a step of faith, that is unknown, scary and you don't know what to expect. In so many ways we are losing our life, we are losing what we have for the sake of the cross, for the sake of sharing Jesus with others. How refreshing that is! How wonderful to seek Him, and trust Him at this new level. How encouraging it is to feel all these emotions, as we walk through seeking Him in this new facet. How wonderful to know that our Redeemer, our Savior is so good and trustworthy enough to allow our household to come apart and for us to allow Him to rebuild it, as He rebuilds our lives in Cambodia. 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Hello 2016.

It is here, 2016 the year of branching out, preparing, and changing. For our family this is the year that we will prepare to take our biggest steps of faith ever and change the way we live, and see the world. God has huge things in store for us and we know it. How exciting!

But first, 2015. 2015 started out so simple for us. Our little family of 3, thinking about a far reaching dream to join Engineering Ministries International overseas in SE Asia, and simply living our life here in Durango. Waiting and trusting God to show us each step that was next. As we took these steps we enjoyed the fruits of trusting God. The year began with Chris's best friend getting married, then his trip to Uganda with eMi, and then the climax of 2015. The greatest thing to have happened in 2015 was on my birthday, April 28th at 1:09pm, little Layla Faith Hardrick was born. She was born in to a room full of joy at her final arrival and we were so happy to have her join our family. :) After she was born we interviewed with eMi in June, and did family trips during the summer. Then came eMi orientation at the end of the summer. Then fall, my first fall since I was 4 years old of not going back to school as a student or a teacher. Enjoying our beautiful, fun, joyful girls! Later came the holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's and lots of snow that lead us into 2016. What a fabulous year!! :)

Now here we are in 2016, and we can see some of what this next season holds. A year of "lasts for now" as we soak up the FEET of snow at our house, sledding, fort building, and maybe eventually snowman building. The cold and the joy of winter! Same with a Colorado spring that is quickly approaching and birthdays. It is weird to look at this year and to realize that in a year we will beginning a new chapter of our lives in a new country and a new culture, a new city, basically new everything! This is a year to prepare. To prep our hearts, our minds, to lean into Jesus, and trust more. To seek Him, to see where He is leading, and to continue to take bold steps of faith that we are confident in His leading. We get to live this year in faith not fear. Choosing to trust not to fear, and choose to continue in the obedience of taking each new step of faith as it comes.